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Strong law needed to protect public health from tobacco related NCD, say experts

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 1st November, 2021 05:13:38 PM
  • Print news

Strict tobacco control law is needed to protect public health and prevent non-communicable diseases during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation of the country, said experts.

The experts came up with the statement while speaking at a seminar titled 'Importance of Amending Tobacco Control Law to protect public health and prevent non-communicable diseases' organized by Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) and National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh on Monday.

Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Research at the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, presented the keynote at the seminar held at the BMA auditorium in the capital. BMA President Dr. Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin chaired the programme.

Sohel Reza Choudhury said about 37.8 million adults in Bangladesh use tobacco. Moreover 38.4 million adults are victims of secondhand smoke in public places including workplace and public transport. 

“Excessive use of tobacco products is one of the leading causes of heart disease, cancer, breast disease and many other preventable diseases and deaths. Tobacco control laws need to be strengthened to protect public health from these harms,” he added. 

National Professor Brigadier (Retd.) Abdul Malik, Founder and President of National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh said there were weaknesses in some areas of the current tobacco control law of the country. “If these vulnerabilities are corrected, the law will be more effective.”

Dr. Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin said if necessary amendments are brought to the Tobacco Control Act, it would be possible to control the non-communicable diseases.

Speakers at the meeting also demanded six important amendments to the Tobacco Control Act including abolishing the provision of 'Designated Smoking Areas' (DSA) in public places and public transport.

BMA Secretary General Dr. Md. Ihteshamul Haque Chowdhury conducted the meeting while Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Md. Sharfuddin Ahmed, former Vice Chancellor of the BSMMU Prof. Dr Kanak Kanti Barua, Secretary General of the Society of Medicine Prof. Ahmedul Kabir and the President of the Society of Respiratory Medicine Professor. Mirza Hiron were among others present in the seminar.